LONDON, UK – Awards were announced this week by the Ice Hockey Journalists UK. The following is a review of the awardees and their accomplishments this season.
Ling lands player of year award
Nottingham Panthers forward David Ling has been rewarded for an outstanding season by being named Ice Hockey Journalists UK’s Rapid Solicitors Elite League Player of the Year.
The vastly-experienced 38-year-old Canadian has led Panthers to their first league title since 1956 and the club are closing in on a fourth consecutive Challenge Cup success as they also attempt to secure the Grand Slam.
Ling, who made 93 appearances in the NHL and played in nearly 600 games in the AHL, is the leading point-scorer in all competitive games with 101 points (36 goals and 65 assists) in 62 games.
He said: “It is a great honour and I thank everyone who voted for me. It is always nice when you win individual awards but I would not have been able to do it without my line-mates and my team-mates.
“From day one we had a vision of winning the league and I know it had been a long time since the club did that. Now we are looking to win the Grand Slam.
“It was the first time I had won a championship in my 18 years as a pro so it was a big moment for me. I told the guys they had to take any opportunity they get to win some silverware because you might not get another chance.
“You set yourself goals at the start of the season and I knew I could be a top-five point-scorer in the league. I have been fortunate to have been on a line with Bruce [Graham] and Benny [Brandon Benedict] this year. We have really gelled and I have to thank them too.”
Hartmann named best coach
Edinburgh Capitals player-coach Richard Hartmann’s excellent efforts in turning around the fortunes of the Scottish club have been recognised after he was voted Ice Hockey Journalists UK’s Rapid Solicitors Elite League Coach of the Year.
The 37-year-old Slovakian is in his third season in Murrayfield and has helped the club qualify for the play-offs for the first time in three years.
Capitals had failed to make the post-season for the past two years but produced a sixth-place finish and were just two points adrift of Cardiff Devils in fifth.
Hartmann said: “I’m really, really happy and I have no words to describe just how proud I feel. I never expected anything like this and I want to thank the IHJUK journalists for voting for me.
“I’m delighted to be told that and it’s a complete surprise. I must say all the boys deserve a piece of this as well as do the owners Matthew Tailford and Scott Neil as everyone has put something into this season.
“It’s a proud moment for me.”
Dixon voted top EPL coach
Paul Dixon has been rewarded for leading Guildford Flames to the double for the second successive season by being named Ice Hockey Journalists UK’s English Premier League Coach of the Year.
The 39-year-old former Great Britain international has won nearly a dozen trophies during his 14-year stay at the Spectrum.
Dixon took over as player-coach in 2007 and has now led Flames to back-to-back doubles, with all eyes on the play-offs and a possible Grand Slam.
Dixon said: “It has been a good season and I’m delighted to win the award. The English Premier League is a strong competition and we have been very consistent throughout the year. It is a huge achievement for the club and the players.
“We did well because we held the team together over the last 18 months and were consistent. It is a long hard year and we were consistent especially in the middle of the season when other teams picked up injuries. I think in about 30 games we only lost around four games and that is testament to the players.
“There is always expectation in Guildford and we are happy to repeat our title. Even when we haven’t won it in the past teams have still wanted to beat us because we are Guildford.”
Hoog nets player accolade
Swindon Wildcats forward Jonas Hoog has been named Ice Hockey Journalists UK’s English Premier League Player of the Year.
The 26-year-old Swede is in his third season with the club having joined midway through the 2010/11 campaign.
Hoog, a prolific point-scorer in the EPL, registered the most points in the league last season with 92 (42 goals and 50 assists) in 54 games and averages two points a game.
This term he posted 120 points (39 goals and 81 assists) as Swindon finished seventh.
List of awards
Elite League All-Star First Team – Goaltender: Craig Kowalski (Nottingham Panthers); Defencemen: Mike Schutte (Coventry Blaze), Eric Werner (Nottingham Panthers); Forwards: David Ling (Nottingham Panthers), Bruce Graham (Nottingham Panthers), Mac Faulkner (Cardiff Devils).
Elite League All-Star Second Team – Goaltender: Nic Riopel (Dundee Stars); Defencemen: Robby Sandrock (Belfast Giants), Drew Fata (Sheffield Steelers); Forwards: Sami Ryhanen (Dundee Stars), Rene Jarolin (Edinburgh Capitals), Ash Goldie (Braehead Clan).
English Premier League All-Star First Team – Goaltender: Stevie Lyle (Basingstoke Bison); Defencemen: Luke Boothroyd (Manchester Phoenix), Branislav Kvetan (Guildford Flames); Forwards: David Longstaff (Guildford Flames), Jonas Hoog (Swindon Wildcats), Aaron Nell (Swindon Wildcats).
English Premier League All-Star Second Team – Goaltender: Stephen Wall (Peterborough Phantoms); Defencemen: Mindaugas Kieras (Slough Jets), Ben Morgan (Sheffield Steeldogs); Forwards: Curtis Huppe (Guildford Flames), Lukas Smital (Bracknell Bees), Michal Psurny (Manchester Phoenix).
Best British Players
Netminder (Phil Drackett Memorial Award): Stephen Murphy (Belfast Giants).
Defenceman (The Alan Weeks Trophy): Jonathan Weaver (Nottingham Panthers)
Forward: Craig Peacock (Belfast Giants)
U21 Young Player (The Vic Batchelder Memorial Award): James Griffin (Coventry Blaze)
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